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LABOR AGREEMENTS, AWARDS, AND
National Agreement in the Full-Fashioned Hosiery Industry HE third national agreement between the Full-Fashioned Hosiery
Fashioned Hosiery Workers, effective September 21, 1931, to August 31, 1932, contains a number of interesting changes.
The committees of the union and the association at conferences held preceding the adoption and signing of this agreement agreed in principle that owing to the present economic conditions existing in the hosiery industry it was necessary for the mutual benefit of the members of the union and the members of the association to effect a reduction in labor rates during the period of this agreement. The wage rates agreed to are from 25 per cent to 45 per cent lower than the rates paid prior to the negotiation of this agreement. A minimum rate of $14 for a 48-hour week was established for week workers. For piecework operators a minimum rate for a full 48-hour week for knitters is $20, for boarders $16, and for other piecework operators $12. It is provided that the operator shall receive the difference between the amount earned and the minimum specified for each classification. If, during any week, less than 48 hours' work is performed a pro rata of the minimum rate shall apply,
In the expectation that with the stabilization and improvement in the present economic conditions the labor rates may be raised, the following provision was incorporated in the agreement.
A commission composed of five to be mutually agreed upon shall be created to have submitted to it a certified statement of earnings from such firms as are listed on a stock exchange whenever such firms, by the rules or agreement with stock exchange, will furnish such statements, and from such firms who are not so listed the commission shall accept a statement of a certified public accountant of the operations of the business of such firm for each 6-month period of the calendar or fiscal year of such firm's business, showing the profits or losses of the business operations during such period. Dividends on the common stock shall be included in profits earned whenever such dividends are paid out of earnings for that period. This commission shall treat and keep such statements and information as confidential, excepting that it shall report its findings as to the profits or losses of the operations of the members of the association during said fiscal period, which shall be considered on the basis of the group result as a whole and not on the operations of any individual mill or member and make recommendations to a committee to be known as the joint negotiating committee and which shall consist of 11 nominees of the association and 11 nominees of the union, which committee shall, by a vote of 16 of its members, determine the increase or reduction in rates to go into effect during the period of this agreement.
This agreement also provides that all legging machines shall be operated as single jobs until such time as the present unemployed members of the union are employed. Helpers on leggers and on 18, 20, and 22 section type footers are eliminated. No apprentices are to be given jobs as knitters during the first six months of this agreemerit. During the remainder of the agreement those apprentices who shall
have completed their 4-year apprenticeship may be given jobs as knitters at the regular knitters' pay.
The check-off system for the collection of union dues is provided for as follows:
The union agrees that it will deliver to each member of the association a list showing the amount in dollars and cents (not in percentage) to be payable by union members in the employ of the mill to be deducted from the wages of each class of workers, it being understood that the union dues payable by each class of workers shall be uniform; such list shall be furnished by the union at least five days before each pay day. The union also agrees to deliver to each member of the association a written order from each employee of the mill, a member of the union, whose wages shall be subject to deductions under this dues-collecting system, authorizing the employer, the member of the association, to deduct from his wages and pay over to the union the specific amount which the union will require to be so deducted by the employer and paid to it. Each member of the association upon receipt of said list and such authorizations will deduct from the wages due each pay day to each union employee the amount of dues payable by such employee to the union and will pay over to the union or its designee such amounts on each pay day. The union shall have the right at any time to an examination of the detailed pay rolls of any and all manufacturers, members of the association.
The agreement made August 1, 1930, established an unemployment fund to which each member of the association contributed i per cent of the weekly wages paid the members of the union employed in the factory of such member. Contributions of the employing member of the association began August 1, 1930. The agreement provided for a contribution of a like sum from the members of the union beginning September 1, 1931. The present agreement provides for the payment of unemployment insurance from the accumulated fund as follows:
The unemployment fund, accumulated under the agreement which went into effect August 1, 1930, and such arrears thereof as are now payable and as will be collected, shall be turned over by the impartial chairman to the extent of the amount thereof now in his hands to the trustees of the fund, and such arrears thereof as are now unpaid shall be collected by the trustees of the fund. The trustees shall allocate to each mill which has contributed to the unemployment fund the amount so contributed and the same, that is to say, each part allocated to each mill, shall be applied upon the recommendation of the shop committee of each mill with the approval of the employer and a designated official of the union, to the alleviation of distress caused by unemployment from which any employee of such mill may have suffered. The application and disposition of the funds shall be solely with such trustees and neither the union nor the association nor any member thereof shall have title or claim thereto. The entire fund shall be fully distributed before September 1, 1932.
The powers of the impartial chairman, Dr. George W. Taylor of Philadelphia, who is designated to act throughout the term and continuance of this agreement, is as follows:
The impartial chairman shall have the duty and power to decide and adjudicate all matters in dispute between the union and the association and/or members involved arising under the terms and conditions of this agreement; and the union and the association and or members agree to be bound by and abide by the decisions of the impartial chairman.
Awards and Decisions
Railroad Brotherhoods ---Central of Georgia Railway THE Central of Georgia Railway Co, and representatives of the
Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Engineman, Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen,
and Order of Railway Conductors agreed on March 26, 1931, to submit an unsettled dispute to a board of arbitration composed of three members.
The board of arbitration was composed of C. E. Weaver, representing the carrier, G. W. Laughlin, representing the employees, and Arthur M. Millard, selected by the United States Board of Mediation as the neutral member.
The following joint statement of facts outlines the issues of the dispute submitted to the board.
Since 1919, the Central of Georgia Railway Co. has maintained a service between Columbus and Fort Benning, Ga., and has operated both freight and passenger service in mixed trains. The number of crews assigned has been regulated to correspond with the conditions and has varied from assignment of from five to one crew at different times. At all times at least one crew has been assigned, and in all instances road engineers, firemen, conductors, and trainmen have manned said services. On April 9, 1929, the regular assigned road crews were eliminated and the service placed in the hands of yard engineers, firemen, conductors, and yard switchmen. This was protested by the road engine and trainmen, the management taking the position that they were within their rights in converting such service to yardmen and eliminating entirely the road crew, due to the fact that the passenger service heretofore maintained had been eliminated, while the freight, mail, and express service remained unchanged, except that the yard crews are not required to load or unload less-than-carload freight.
On November 13, 1931, the majority of the board made the following award :
(a) Sustain the contention of the brotherhoods that the service maintained by the carrier between Columbus, Ga., and Fort Benning, Ga., does not constitute a switching service as defined by paragraph B of article 41 of the existing agreement between the carrier and the brotherhoods, and does hereby award
(b) The employees coming under this agreement to arbitrate, and who are assigned to service between Columbus, Ga., and Fort Benning, Ga., shall be restored to road service at the governing rates for such service, and yardmen shall not be used in road service when road crews are available, except in case of emergency. Where yard crews are used in road service between Columbus, Ga., and Fort Benning, Ga., under conditions referred to, they shall be paid at the rate of miles or hours, whichever is greater, with a minimum of one hour, for the class of service performed, in addition to the regular yard pay and without any deduction therefrom for the time consumed in said service.
(c) The employees coming under this agreement to arbitrate and who, commencing with April 9, 1929, or thereafter, were regularly assigned to service and actually employed in service between Columbus, Ga., and Fort Benning, Ga., shall be paid in accordance with the requirements of paragraph B, article 41, of the existing agreements between the carrier and the brotherhoods, from and including April 9, 1929, up to the effective date of the award.
(d) The provisions of this award shall become effective on the date of the award, except for those employees regularly assigned to service and actually employed in service between Columbus, Ga., and Fort Benning, Ga., and who shall be paid as noted in section C of the award, and shall continue in force for a period of one year from the effective date thereof and thereafter be subject to 30 days' notice by either party to the other.
C. E. Weaver, representing the carrier, dissented from the above award.
Street-Railway Employees --St. Louis, Mo. The wages of motormen, conductors, bus operators, and shopmen in St. Louis, Mo., were cut 10 per cent by the decision, October 8, 1931, of a board of arbitration in the wage controversy between the St. Louis Public Service Co. and Division No. 788 of the Amalgamated Association of Street and Electric Railway Employees.
The company notified the employees that, effective May 19, 1931, it proposed to make a 10 per cent wage cut, contingent upon the ability of the company to meet its expenses and interest charges. Under the plan proposed by the company, accountants would be employed to determine how much of the proposed 10 per cent would be deducted monthly. The union rejected the proposal of any wage cut, and a strike vote was ordered.
On May 16, 1931, an agreement was signed by the parties to the wage controversy to arbitrate the question and also whether the differential in the hourly rate of pay of 2-man and 1-man car operators should be greater than 7 cents an hour.
A board of arbitration was created composed of Edward J. Miller, representing the company, former Mayor Henry W. Kiel, representing the employees, and former Circuit Judge Harry E. Sprague, as the neutral member.
The board disposed of the second question by agreeing that the differential of 7 cents in favor of the operators of 1-man cars and busses is adequate.
At the hearings which began August 10, 1931, the company based its request for a 10 per cent decrease in the wages of its employees on a decrease in the number of revenue-paying passengers, an increase in the cost of operation, and the inadequacy of the present earnings of the company to meet the requirements for operation, taxes, interest on indebtedness, and depreciation.
Using the 8-year period, 1923 to 1930, inclusive, as agreed upon by the economists on both sides of the controversy as the usual and proper period for the contracts and comparisons which each relied on to prove their respective points, the company presented exhibits to show the necessity for the 10 per cent cut in wages.
The union urged that the financial condition of the company was immaterial unless it were shown that the wages now paid are more than would be necessary to meet the reasonable minimum living requirements, and contended that even if the financial condition of the company were material, the actual condition shown by the evidence did not warrant a wage reduction.
The majority of the board, Judge Harry E. Sprague and Edward J. Miller, granted the 10 per cent reduction in the wages of the employees and justified its award by the financial condition of the company and the necessity for maintaining an uninterrupted transportation service. In the decision the arbitrators called attention to the sharp decline in the number of revenue-paying passengers during the past eight years—from 295,894,000 in 1923 to 215,685,000 in 1930. The gross revenue fell off during the 8-year period from $20,661,000 to $18,705,000. The increase in fares during the same 8-year period was from an average of 6.9 cents per passenger in 1923 to 8.64 cents in 1930, an increase of about 25 per cent. While revenuepaying passengers declined about 2734 per cent, passenger revenue declined only 92 per cent.
The majority opinion declared that it is in "hearty sympathy with the principle of sustaining high wages for American workingmen," but added that "aims and ideals must sometimes yield to compelling necessity," and further, that "no necessity is greater or more compelling than lack of funds and with the company facing the deficit
the majority arbitrators who join in this report believe that there in no other solution but the one they have chosen."
The minority member of the board filed a minority opinion from which the following extracts are taken:
Admitting there has been a gradual decline in street-car passengers since 1923 due to bus and jitney competition and the increase of private automobiles, and admitting there has been a sharp decline in passengers in 1931 due to the economic depression and consequent unemployment, these facts are no sufficient excuse, for an industry which has been granted a virtual monopoly by the public, to pay less than a living wage.
The company has now acquired the competing busses and the bus and streetcar income for 1930 exceeded that of the street-car company during its peak year of 1923 before it had the bus competition. Fares have increased so that they are now higher than the general average of street-car fares in the United States.
The majority of the board of arbitrators state in their opinion that "if a minimum wage means the sum necessary to keep a wage earner and his family from want, from becoming, through inadequate housing and sustenance, charges on society, the majority of this board heartily agree with that principle." Contrast this standard adopted by the majority with the following view of the Industrial Commission of Colorado. “By a living wage we mean a wage sufficient to supply a decent living for himself and family; enough to educate his children in the manner in which every American child should be educated; enough to secure a little pleasure in living, and something left to set aside when old age comes and he can toil no longer." The wages that the men in this case receive are still below that standard of living wage.
If there is to be a reduction it should begin at the top where the bracket contains the enormous expenditure for administrative expense of $1,280,850, one that has steadily increased to in excess of over $400,000 per annum more than in 1923 (the company's peak year in income) with no satisfactory reason therefor shown so far as I understand the proof.
The men are receiving a bare minimum living wage and the company is in better financial condition than ever with greatly increased reserves and a very substantial sum of ready cash on hand. With all due respect for my brother arbitrators and their more lengthy opinion which I have carefully analyzed in the light of all the evidence, I hold that a wage cut can not be logically justified at this time.
Decisions of Industrial Commission of Colorado
THE Industrial Commission of Colorado received notice from Hallack & Howard Lumber Co., October 19, 1931, that at the expiration of 30 days a reduction would be made in the wages of its employees. A protest was filed by the secretary of the Millmen's Local Union No. 1583, Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, on November 5, 1931.
At the hearing held on November 16, 1931, the employer contended that owing to the present conditions in the business world it was necessary for him to make this reduction in the wages of his employees. The union protested that other firms engaged in the same business were not reducing wages.
The decision of the industrial commission, rendered November 18, 1931, disapproved the proposed reduction in wages at this time.
Painters-Pueblo, Colo. The Industrial Commission of Colorado received notice on October 31, 1931, from eight firms of Pueblo, Colo., of a proposed reduction in the wages of their employees, members of the Brotherhood of Painters,